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The way people view intimate relationships has changed as social media sites such as Facebook, Google Chat, Instagram, and Twitter have evolved (Kenadie 2017). For many people, these social media serve as a meeting and connecting spot. Indeed, social media networks have developed into common networking platforms for a wide variety of people. Facebook, for example, has over one billion users worldwide who share their thoughts, sentiments, and ideas. Like any other technical breakthrough, social networking networks have advantages and disadvantages. According to research, social media networks have both positive and negative effects on intimate relationships (Farrugia 2013). This academic paper seeks to describe various effects of social media on romantic relationships. In addition, the paper offers some solutions to overcome negative effects of social media to relationships.
Social media sites have offered an opportunity for many individuals to reconnect and rekindle their romantic relationships. A study conducted in Australia in 2010, found that social networking sites had positive effects on people’s relationships (Kuss and Griffiths 2011). Additionally, the study revealed that use of social media was wide spread across all age groups with adults being highest users. It is common practice of people losing touch with one another. For example, people often lose contacts of their loved ones due to change of physical addresses and loss or technical challenges of communication gadgets. In addition, people geographically get alienated from one another due to factors such as job transfers, education and displacement (as result of wars and political instabilities). Fortunately, evolution of social media site has allowed easy reconnection with one another (Kenadie 2017). For example, separated couples due to political instabilities can use various features available in social media sites to search whereabouts of their significant other. Consequently, the relationship which could otherwise have ended miserably is restored. Social media helps to keep long distance romantic relationship alive and realistic. With social networking sites like twitter and Facebook love birds who are geographically alienated can easily communicate with one another and share their feelings and ideas.
Social networking sites have eased process of establishing romantic relationships (Kenadie 2017). Before social media platforms were invented many young people struggled to find partners. Actually, dating was only possible during social festivals and celebrations. It is in such gatherings where people could interact and mingle freely hence developing relationships. However, evolution of social media sites particular Facebook has made it easier for people to interact freely and start romantic intimacies. In fact, Facebook has made it easier for people to filter prospective partners who display little interest in relationships (Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe 2007). Facebook has specific features that enable its users to start conversations with opposite gender without feeling guilty or getting embarrassed. Features such as status updates, like friends status, comment on others pages and messages have presented opportunities to many social media users to establish new romantic relationships. In addition, social media sites allow users to post photos and other vital personal identification that makes it possible for users to start romantic relationships with people who they feel match their specifications.
Social media sites serve as source of happiness and satisfaction in romantic relationships (Utz and Beukeboom 2011). Studies have shown that social networking sites increases happiness and satisfaction among relating partners. Happiness and satisfaction are very essential ingredients of romantic relationships. As a matter of fact happiness and satisfaction determine durability of romantic relationships. Certain features of social media sites allow users to post their statuses. When a partner posts statuses such as ‘’in relationship’’ or ‘’engaged’’ depicts a sign of maturity and commitment. Further studies have revealed that when partners are satisfied with a relationship there is high probability of them experiencing positive feelings while using social media sites. Social media sites have been linked with increasing happiness in partners with low self-esteem. For example, research has shown that when other significant partner updates his/her status as ‘’in a relationship’’ the low self-esteemed partner experiences happiness (Utz and Beukeboom 2011). This in return improves romantic relationship between the two partners.
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Abiding to good virtues such as trust and honest is very critical if good romantic relationship is to be realized. In fact, social media sites have been converted to surveillance devices by some users (Tokunaga 2011). Social media sites provide some forms of behavior checks which reinforce abstinence from immoral behaviors of either partner. Partners are able to monitor progress of each other through social media sites since the information displayed is public. Nevertheless, social media sites offer certain features which enable those in relationships detect other people who may have interest in breaking their relationships.
In spite of the fact that social media can enhance and improve romantic relationships in a number of ways, it has also affected romantic relationship negatively. Facebook, twitter, snap chat, instagram and many other social networking platforms have been reported as sources of romantic relationship break ups.
Social media sites are major causes of conflicts in romantic relationships. Posting of pictures by one partner with members of opposite gender can create insecurity on the other partner. This in return leads to conflicts or disputes between the two love birds. When one partner posts pictures with members of opposite gender the significant other may have a misconception that he/she is being played or cheated in the relationship. Relationship conflicts threat stability of romantic relationship and may even lead to adverse effects such as fights and violence.
Jealous in romantic relationship has been closely associated with social media. Social media sites allow large groups of people with diverse views and backgrounds to interact and mingle freely. Availability of certain features which enable users of social media to write comments on walls of other users and also to like photos of others have indeed promoted tensions in relationships. Nonetheless, social networking sites have made it possible for an individual to check and follow what his/her partner is doing. For instance, if a partner likes or comments on pictures of other users of social media sites particularly those of opposite gender the significant other may become jealous (Kenadie 2017). Jealous creates tension in romantic relationships and can have detrimental effects on relationships. Evidently, social media sites are major sources of jealous in romantic relationships. A research conducted by Muise et al in 2009, revealed that the more time an individual spends on social networking sites the more he or she becomes jealous. According to Buunk and Dijkstra (2004) males are jealous of sexual infidelity whereas females are jealous of emotional infidelity. Similarly, another research conducted on Twitter usage found that increased use of Twitter significantly increased Twitter-associated disputes. Consequently, increased Twitter-related disputes led to high rates of divorce, infidelity and break ups.
Privacy in relationships is very paramount. Some matters of relationship need to be kept private and confidential. However, evolution of social media sites has made it difficult for those in relationship to keep their matters confidential. Despite sharing of information on social media being critically important for people who are in relationships, extreme sharing of information can lead to loss of intimacy between partners. Similarly, sharing minimal information can make other users of social media start criticizing or doubting authenticity of the friendship. Moreover, social media sites have become refuge and comforting zone for conflicting partners. Whenever one partner experiences differences with the significant other the best place to seek solace is social networking sites. Actually, nowadays is not surprising to find two people who were greatly in love engaging one another using all sort of abusive language. Notwithstanding how many people are capable of viewing the information they share, they go to an extent of describing each other’s private life including sexual life.
Addiction is common negative effect associated with social media. Social networking sites are associated with numerous fascinating activities, objects and events. These attractive activities keep many people glued to cell phones and computers. In fact, much of time majority of relating partners or couples spend chatting or texting (Kuss and Griffiths 2011). Committing time and giving attention to one another is very important in ensuring romantic relationship continues smoothly and without wrangles. However, when couple and relating persons spend almost three quarters of their time on devices such as laptops this important aspect of romance is lost (Marlynn 2015). As a result, some partners may feel that they are losing their significant other to competitors hence creation of tensions and conflicts.
Finally, social media contributes to break ups and divorces. The ultimate aftermath of conflicts and misunderstandings caused by social media is marriage divorces and break up of many romantic relationships. Various studies carried out across the globe have reported that social media can ruin romantic relationships. A research conducted by American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in United States in 2010, reported that number of divorce cases was increasing (Adams 2011). The researchers cited social media sites as main cause of the increasing divorce cases. According to Adams (2011) Facebook was identified as the major cause while MySpace and Twitter followed respectively.
It has been proven beyond any reasonable doubts that social media has both positive and negative effects in regards to romantic relationships. In fact, if social media is not well utilized it can have detrimental effects on relationships (Farrugia 2013). Therefore, it is prudent to find effective strategies to counterattack the harmful effects of social media on romantic relationships. First and foremost it is paramount for partners to communicate together and discuss on how they intent to handle social media platforms. This will reduce conflicts and tensions. Secondly, social media users should be proactive. In an event where one partner feels that he/she is not in agreement with activities of significant other, such individual need take courage and peaceful discuss the matter with the partner only a consensus is arrived at. Before one criticizes or makes judgment on what is happening on social media platforms with regard to the other partner, he/she should first discuss the matter with the affected partner (Marlynn 2015). Thirdly, relating partners should draw clear demarcations between public and private matters. Romantic issues are delicate and should be handled with a lot of care hence they should be treated with privacy and confidentiality (Farrugia 2013). Last but not least relating individuals should reduce time they spend on social media and focus on building strong foundations for their romantic relationships. Most important, all individuals in relationships should clearly comprehend that creating time for one another and paying attention to each other are cornerstone to establishment of long and durable romantic relationships.
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Adams, R., 2011. Facebook a top cause of relationship trouble, say US lawyers. The Guardian.
Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C. and Lampe, C., 2007. The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 12(4), pp.1143-1168.
Farrugia, R.C., 2013. Facebook and relationships: A study of how social media use is affecting long-term relationships.
Kenadie, T, W, 2017. Social Networking Sites and Romantic Relationships: Effects on Development, Maintenance, and Dissolution of Relationships
Kuss, D.J. and Griffiths, M.D., 2011. Online social networking and addiction—a review of the psychological literature. International journal of environmental research and public health, 8(9), pp.3528-3552.
Marlynn, W, D, 2015. How To Keep Social Media From Complicating Your Relationship
Tokunaga, R.S., 2011. Social networking site or social surveillance site? Understanding the use of interpersonal electronic surveillance in romantic relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(2), pp.705-713.
Utz, S. and Beukeboom, C.J., 2011. The role of social network sites in romantic relationships: Effects on jealousy and relationship happiness. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 16(4), pp.511-527.
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